Merge old Windows 10 Pro setup into newly installed Win10Pro on new laptop?


Merge old Windows 10 Pro setup into newly installed Win10Pro on new...
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ABeagley
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I have an older ThinkPad that came with Windows 7 Pro but was upgraded to Windows 10 Pro and by now has many programs that I have installed, and many UI customizations. I have now purchased a new ThinkPad that came with Windows 10 Pro, and I have done the initial setup, including installing Macrium Reflect 7 and imaging the whole drive. Both Windows installations have digital licenses, of course. The new machine has a restoration partition, but the old one does not (perhaps it did originally, but it no longer has the original drive.

Is there a way I can merge the old Windows installation into the new one so that I keep various programs with their configuration settings, and also keep my desktop the way I like it -- but without overwriting the new machine's hardware-specific drivers and its digital signature?

jphughan
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Someone just recently asked this exact question here, but I can't find that thread.  In any case, the short answer is no, you can't do that.  Intelligently merging two Windows installations would likely require support from Windows itself to do with any measure of reliability at all.  Apple offers this capability through their Time Machine solution, but they're in the unique position of having full control over all of their OS and all of the hardware that it will run on.

The closest you can come would be to restore your old system's image over your new one and then use Macrium ReDeploy and Lenovo Vantage to get drivers sorted.  The digital license won't be affected because even when your old PC's Windows installation starts on new hardware, it will check with Microsoft and find that the new hardware has its own license anyway since you're running Win10 Pro in both cases.  As for the restoration partition, you could try to preserve that if you wanted to by running a custom restore that left that existing partition intact, but I've personally never found much use for those since by the time I want to restore my system (if ever), the original Windows version or in this case Windows 10 release version and the original drivers are so outdated that you end up spending so much time updating everything that it's usually easier to just start from scratch with the latest versions of everything in the first place.  But one thing you could do would be to capture an image of your entire new system BEFORE you restore the old system onto it, and then just keep that as your "archival" image.  In fact I'd strongly recommend doing that anyway so that if the restore goes wrong, you can at least get back to where you are now in short order.  I did that when I got a new ThinkPad myself, and then I was able to reclaim that space occupied by the restoration partition, knowing that I could bring it back if ever needed.

In addition, the new system will certainly be set up to boot in UEFI mode.  If the older system is (was?) set up to boot in Legacy BIOS mode, then you'll have to perform a custom restore to allow that old system's image to boot on the new system.  Macrium has a KB article about that if needed.

If you want to attempt to migrate the old PC's image onto your new one, it would help to post screenshots of the partition layout of both your old system and the new one, as shown from within Reflect.  That would allow providing a step-by-step guide for how to proceed.

Edited 15 July 2020 7:19 PM by jphughan
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jphughan - 15 July 2020 7:15 PM
Someone just recently asked this exact question here, but I can't find that thread.  In any case, the short answer is no, you can't do that.  Intelligently merging two Windows installations would likely require support from Windows itself to do with any measure of reliability at all.  Apple offers this capability through their Time Machine solution, but they're in the unique position of having full control over all of their OS and all of the hardware that it will run on.

The closest you can come would be to restore your old system's image over your new one.  The digital license won't be affected because even when your old PC's Windows installation starts on new hardware, it will check with Microsoft and find that the new hardware has its own license anyway since you're running Win10 Pro in both cases.  As for the restoration partition, you could try to preserve that if you wanted to by running a custom restore that left that existing partition intact, but I've personally never found much use for those since by the time I want to restore my system, the Windows version (in this case, Windows 10 release version) and drivers are so outdated that you end up spending so much time updating everything that it's usually easier to just start from scratch with the latest versions of everything in the first place.  But one thing you could do would be to capture an image of your entire new system  BEFORE you restore the old system onto it, and then just keep that as your "archival" image.  In fact I'd strongly recommend doing that anyway so that if the restore goes wrong, you can at least get back to where you are now in short order.

In addition, the new system will certainly be set up to boot in UEFI mode.  If the older system is (was?) set up to boot in Legacy BIOS mode, then you'll have to perform a custom restore to allow that old system's image to boot on the new system.  Macrium has a KB article about that if needed.

If you want to attempt to migrate the old PC's image onto your new one, it would help to post screenshots of the partition layout of both your old system and the new one, as shown from within Reflect.  That would allow providing a step-by-step guide for how to proceed.

The old machine is in use by someone else at present, but I have the Macrium Reflect 7 images of the whole drive (MBR: no Recovery, EFI, or Reserved partitions) and of its individual partitions: Win10Pro, Win7Pro (I have at least one old program that does not like Win10), a separate Data partition (all NTFS), plus two ext4 partitions and a Swap partition for Manjaro Linux.

So would it be best just to shrink the new drive's Win10Pro partition to the bare minimum (I could always remove it completely later) and restore/redeploy the old drive's individual partitions to the new drive's unallocated space (with some size adjustments to accommodate the Recovery, EFI, Reserved, and drastically shrunk Win10Pro partitions)?

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So now the goal is to dual boot two separate Win10 environments on your new system, namely the environment it shipped with and also the one you'll be restoring?  I imagine that would get old fast.  What I would do instead based on your description is this:
  1. Back up your new ThinkPad's entire disk to an image file.
  2. Create Rescue Media on your new ThinkPad and test it to confirm that it boots properly on that system and can see whatever devices you'd need it to see (internal storage, external drives, network locations, whatever).
  3. Deactivate your Reflect license on your new ThinkPad (Help menu > Remove License) in preparation for blowing away this Windows environment.
  4. Boot into Rescue Media and restore only the Win10 partition from your original system directly over your new ThinkPad's existing Windows partition, resizing it as needed by using the "Restored Partition Properties" dialog.  Omit all other partitions from the source disk from this job, and leave all other existing partitions on the destination intact.
  5. After the restore completes, run ReDeploy.  This will focus only on getting boot-critical drivers sorted.  If the restored Windows 10 environment is running a recent release, I doubt you'll be prompted to supply any drivers for this.  ReDeploy should find native support in Windows 10 and use that.
  6. Restart your new ThinkPad.  If it doesn't boot normally, go back to Rescue Media and run Fix Boot Problems, then try again.
  7. If you get your restored Win10 environment booting on your new ThinkPad, download Lenovo Vantage and use that to grab any additional drivers.
  8. (Optional, but recommended) Go through Programs and Features and uninstall applications that pertain exclusively to hardware from your old system.


ABeagley
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jphughan - 15 July 2020 8:25 PM
So now the goal is to dual boot two separate Win10 environments on your new system, namely the environment it shipped with and also the one you'll be restoring?  I imagine that would get old fast.  What I would do instead based on your description is this:
  1. Back up your new ThinkPad's entire disk to an image file.
  2. Create Rescue Media on your new ThinkPad and test it to confirm that it boots properly on that system and can see whatever devices you'd need it to see (internal storage, external drives, network locations, whatever).
  3. Deactivate your Reflect license on your new ThinkPad (Help menu > Remove License) in preparation for blowing away this Windows environment.
  4. Boot into Rescue Media and restore only the Win10 partition from your original system directly over your new ThinkPad's existing Windows partition, resizing it as needed by using the "Restored Partition Properties" dialog.  Omit all other partitions from the source disk from this job, and leave all other existing partitions on the destination intact.
  5. After the restore completes, run ReDeploy.  This will focus only on getting boot-critical drivers sorted.  If the restored Windows 10 environment is running a recent release, I doubt you'll be prompted to supply any drivers for this.  ReDeploy should find native support in Windows 10 and use that.
  6. Restart your new ThinkPad.  If it doesn't boot normally, go back to Rescue Media and run Fix Boot Problems, then try again.
  7. If you get your restored Win10 environment booting on your new ThinkPad, download Lenovo Vantage and use that to grab any additional drivers.
  8. (Optional, but recommended) Go through Programs and Features and uninstall applications that pertain exclusively to hardware from your old system.


I was intending to have the two Win10 configurations only as an interim measure in case redeploying the old one did not work well.

Anyway, I selected the partition to restore, but I couldn't see that it was going to let me choose where on the destination disk it was going to put it: as far as I could tell, it was going to overwrite the whole disk, wiping out the Revovery and EFI partitions. Maybe it wasn't going to, but it certainly wasn't clear that it wasn't.

Then I shrunk the Windows 10 partition on the destination drive to 40GB and started the restore procedure again, but I couldn't find a way to choose the unallocated space as the destination.





jphughan
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Drag the Windows partition from the Source area to the destination, either on top of an existing partition to replace that partition or into unallocated space.

You might have trouble setting up a dual boot setup unless you’re comfortable editing the Windows BCD, possibly using a tool like EasyBCD. Also make sure you ReDeploy the correct Windows environment if you want to start with two.
Edited 15 July 2020 11:36 PM by jphughan
ABeagley
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jphughan - 15 July 2020 11:34 PM
Drag the Windows partition from the Source area to the destination, either on top of an existing partition to replace that partition or into unallocated space.You might have trouble setting up a dual boot setup unless you’re comfortable editing the Windows BCD, possibly using a tool like EasyBCD.

OK. I see that now, and have started the restore to the unallocated space. If that works OK (and yes, I am familiar with EasyBCD), then maybe I can just remove the initially created Win10 partition and move the restored one.

ABeagley
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jphughan - 15 July 2020 11:34 PM
Drag the Windows partition from the Source area to the destination, either on top of an existing partition to replace that partition or into unallocated space.

You might have trouble setting up a dual boot setup unless you’re comfortable editing the Windows BCD, possibly using a tool like EasyBCD. Also make sure you ReDeploy the correct Windows environment if you want to start with two.

The restoration seemed to go OK, and the Lenovo utility installed a bunch of drivers and apps. BUT I could not get the touchpad to work -- the (virtual) buttons, yes, but I could not move the pointer using the touchpad, even after deleting the device and then reinstalling its driver. So I think I will just have to settle for the new Win10 setup and reinstall my apps.

Thanks for your help.

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The touchpad might have a dependency on Intel Serial IO, sometimes called Intel I2C.  Is Device Manager showing any problem cases?  It would be a shame to start from scratch over a touchpad issue.

Edited 16 July 2020 5:14 PM by jphughan
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jphughan - 16 July 2020 5:14 PM
The touchpad might have a dependency on Intel Serial IO, sometimes called Intel I2C.  Is Device Manager showing any problem cases?  It would be a shame to start from scratch over a touchpad issue.

No sign of the Intel Serial IO/ I2C drivers in the installed-from-scratch Win10, and the touchpad works fine there. Scan for New Hardware on the redeployed one doesn't report anything new, and the Lenovo utility doesn't want to install any new software.

GO

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